You don’t know when you got here, but somehow you’re 20something and everything on your 18-year-old self’s vision board seems like an irrational, yet beautiful, delusion of what you wish your life would be like. You really thought by 28 you’d have your dream job, house in the city, and you and your S.O. would be talking engagement and wedding cakes. Really, you just ate the other half of your leftover cake from your 28th birthday party — alone.
Or maybe you thought you’d be more well traveled. That you would’ve seen the world by now instead of the inside of the mall in your hometown. Whatever it may be, you are not alone and there are ways to cope other than a whole bottle of Merlot (although that really seems to ease the pain).
The bigger dreamer you are the worse it may seem, but many of us have unmet expectations about what our life would be like in our 20s. We hear over and over that this is the period in our lives where we really find ourselves, while in reality we can’t even find the money to pay off our student loans.
So we do what any rational human being would do: we panic, doubt everything, get up and move to Prague, switch careers, taste in music, or fashion sense just to find a little serenity. If you want to keep your dignity in tact through this whirlwind, I also recommend seeking advice from the literary quarter-life crisis survivors. So before you decide to leave everything behind and move to Prague, here are a few books that will help you with this whole “my-life-is-a-complete-mess” fiasco.
1. The Opposite of Loneliness
If you want a book that will make you cry little, smile a little more, and make you think a little bit more than usual, The “Opposite Of Loneliness” is for you. This is a collection of beautifully written short stories and essays by Yale graduate Marina Keegan, whose title essay captured the nation. Keegan’s life was tragically cut short after a fatal car crash five days after her graduation, but her novel keeps her voice and talent alive. Her work captures the hope, in so many of us, to become a person of purpose and the struggle it is to harness the talents we’ve been given. The read is perfect for anyone who’s unsure of where his or her path might be going.
2. Yes Please
Look, Amy Poehler didn’t make it on SNL until she was 30. So, if you’re 29 and still stuck at that not-really-my-dream-job, you still have hope. The SNL and “Parks And Rec” star started out in an improv group before she finally landed her role at NBC. “Yes Please” will take you through all Amy’s awkward high school moments, thoughts on motherhood and beauty, and how she came into this career lets her make people laugh for a living. She will be sure to inspire you, make you LOL, and have you saying “yes please” to your crazy, messy life.
3. Why Not Me
Feeling a little out-of-sorts and out-of-place? This collection of Mindy Kaling’s short stories will give you some tranquility knowing that we all feel it. “The Office” and “The Mindy Project” actress was told constantly her “different” look would keep her from making it in Hollywood. Her coming-of-age and awkward romance stories will have you laughing-out-loud and feeling like you just got the best advice from your hilarious, yet wise friend.
4. Don’t Worry It Gets Worse
If you’re feeling like you’ve been totally bitch slapped by this QLC, then Alida Nugent’s snarkily written novel is the one for you. Nugent is the woman behind the popular blog Frenemy and wrote this collection of essays to tell the story behind it . She’ll give you a giggle or two when you read about her experience moving back home, watching “King Of Queens” with her parents every night, and slyly stealing alcohol from their liquor cabinet. If you’re in need of a laugh and a friendly reminder that you’re not alone, Don’t Worry It Gets Worse will ease the QLC pains.
5. Not That Kind Of Girl
Lena Dunham gets me I swear. “The Girls” creator and actress recounts the hilarious and gripping stories of her prepubescent youth and the struggles of moving back home after college. Dunham, very candidly, captures what it means to be woman making her way in this crazy world. If you need a to take your QLC a little less seriously I recommend picking this read up, now!